There are a lot of different ways to describe a ring. Material, diamond shape, carat, diamond color, diamond clarity, etc. I found a site called 77 Diamonds that actually helps simplify this a little. First – you pick the diamond shape and ring style. Then you can change the color, clarity and carat to see what the different price ranges are for that style.
For example, lets take a look at this trilogy engagement ring design:
Now, for this ring, you have the options of carats ranging from .4 to 2 carats or more. Their carat weight chart gives you an idea of what the actual diamond size is for each carat. The larger the carat weight, the bigger the diamond.
You also have a choice of colors from K (light yellow) to D (perfectly white). Most brides will probably choose a diamond somewhere between H (white) and D (perfectly white). Ratings of D, E and F are the purest, rarest and of course, most expensive diamonds. Diamonds rated G or H may have a slight coloration, but so slight that it would only be noticeable if compared with a higher graded diamond.
This makes them a great option for a bride who needs an affordable engagement ring without sacrificing size. How much difference does color make? Well, a 1 carat ring like the one above, with a VS2 clarity (to be discussed shortly) and a color rating of D would cost you $5000. The same ring, with a color rating of H would cost you $3400.
The other option will see is the clarity. Clarity is ranked from SI3 (slightly included) to IF (internally flawless). This refers to the natural inclusions which can be seen under a 10x magnification. So – an IF is much rarer and much more costly then a SI3. Most brides will go with a VS1 or VS2, which has natural inclusions barely visible under magnification.
If you are on a budget, you might consider an SI1, which has noticable inclusions under magnification but is barely noticable to the human eye. How much difference does this make? Lets use the same example, 1 carat, with an H color rating.
With an IF rating, your cost will be $7259. With a SI1, you would be looking at $2700! Now that is a HUGE difference, but the actual look and size of the ring to the human eye is the same.
One more quick case study, using the same ring above:
.5 Carat, D color, IF clarity: $2900
.5 Carat, H color, VS2 clarity: $1150
Yes – the first ring has diamonds that have a higher value and will always be worth more. But – both rings are the same size and look, and for a bride with a limited budget, color and clarity considerations are a great way to make sure you are getting an engagement ring you love, and can afford!